I feel like this book is the real beginning of the world known as Shannara. The Legends of Shannara series starts after "our" world has ended and a small enclave of various races and creatures have taken shelter within a magical foggy shield. The world has been kept at bay as it crumbles under countless disasters, but this small group has lived in peace behind their magical walls, forming the beginnings of the kingdoms and regions I've grown to love over the vast Shannara series.
But the walls begin to crumble, and the outside world comes calling in a rather vicious and bloodthirsty way. Having been protected for so long, the people of Shannara are not prepared and don't even really believe the scouts who spotted the intruders - and the invaders. The outside world has been struggling to survive, and the formerly sheltered valley looks like a place they want to call home as well.
I found a lot of those traditional fantasy elements that I love so much. A handful of people slowly becoming a small part of 5 or 6. Different races and regions coming together, trying to save a world that doesn't even know (or want to admit) that it needs saving. Enemies and dangers hiding in plain sight and betrayal always a possibility with each new turn. By the end of the book, the lines have been drawn and many of the sides have been determined, but I haven't even gotten to the big fight yet. Things are still being prepared, and you never know what could happen next.
The Gypsy Morph wraps up the Genesis of Shannara trilogy quite nicely. As Hawk realizes his powers and accepts what he is and what he need to do, all the moving pieces of the book seem to be drawing together. When the various groups merge there are some missing, some unexpected additions, and a long road ahead of them.
This book was all about journies - physical and emotional. So many strings come together in one giant knot and Terry Brooks manages to unravel and lay them out before you in nice even rows. Logan Tom gets to face off with "his" demon, and I see the bloodlines that appear in so many of books finding their beginnings.
I once again loved seeing how the land of Shannara was created, and while I hated losing some characters, their loss made the saving of so many others mean that much more. As the last pages unfolded, I found myself excited to see the end/beginning and sad to watch it all go and leave it behind. And the end was quite spectacular.
On the downside, there were quite a few little errors in punctuation and a lot in capitalization.
Elves really do exist. They've remained hidden away in their forest while the world falls apart around them. But when the Lady directs Angel Perez to go find them, she sets out on a journey where she discovers things she once thought as fairy tales are actually real. The elves aren't all that happy to be found either - but Angel has a mission she must complete.
The elves were great! They seem to be the race the least changed by the events in their attitudes from book to book. We begin to hear rumors of the amazing Elf Stones and see how they became a part of the elves' lives again.
Meanwhile, the Ghosts are on the move and Logan Tom tries to free their leader, a fairy creature himself, from one of the compounds humans have set up to try and defend themselves from the demon hordes taking over the land.
The world is rushing towards destruction and only a handful stand in its way. Trying to save what they can before the demons overrun it all. Readers of past Shannara series will find places that seem familiar, and it was very exciting to see places from past books that were in ruins come to life on the pages. I don't know how Terry Brooks keeps it all straight, but he does such an amazing job.
Shannara isn't a land of the past or fantasy - it's the land of the future. It's the land that emerged after an apocalyptic time period full of demons re-emerging and humans allowing the land to go be poisoned by their greed. In Armageddon's Children, we get to see how it all happened and where it all came from.
The last remaining Knights of the Word travel the land under the direction of the Lady. Each has their own mission that will bring them together to save the last of humanity. Angel Perez and Logan Tom each have a mission to complete - a mission that brings keeps turning them closer and closer to a group of street kids that call themselves the Ghosts.
The Ghosts will play an important role in the times to come. A time full of danger and strange new discoveries of magic and mutants. They are not what they appear on the surface, but they have not yet realized their full potential.
Traveling with the characters we see the beginnings of the strange creatures that inhabit the world of Shannara - lizards, spiders, and once-men that help to make up the landscape of the Shannara series.
While I wasn't a fan of the urban fantasy tale that showed more modern times in a previous series, Armageddon's Children begins to bridges the gap between now and the future of Shannara. It's not just a dystopian tale, but the beginnings of an origin story like none I've read before. I did run into a few cases where the editing could have been better - names misspelled and words that should be capitalized weren't.
Grainne remains one of my favorite Shannara characters through the end of this series. She has such a dynamic past and is constantly evolving to adapt to her present - trying to predict what she will need to be for her future. But she has found herself in over her head exiled in the Forbidding.
Through Straken we see the resolution of Grainne's story and the beginning of Pen's. For he has the wishsong. Their stories will draw in all of the realms in true epic fantasy style.
The war between the Federation and the Free-born is raging on, with no real win in sight. A false Ard Rhys is leading the order of the druids, and Pen has sacrificed much to help make it right. Terry Brooks somehow manages to weave all these pieces together and once again reach a satisfying - if sometimes surprising - conclusion to this era of the Shannara story.
But the door is open for more - and I know there is because they are sitting on my shelf waiting. However, one of the things I like best about these series within a series is the ability to have that satisfaction of finishing - while still knowing you get to come back for a grand new adventure soon.
I am a big fan of the Shannara world by Terry Brooks. And Grainne Ohmsford is one of the most intriguing characters I've run into in this epic fantasy series. Tanequil continues the story of her involuntarily journey into the Forbidding, a land full of demons and other nasty evil things, and her nephew Penderrin's search for a way to bring her back.
Penderrin finds himself searching for a magical talisman that will allow him to enter the Forbidding, find his aunt, and bring her back. But as any reader of epic fantasy well knows, magical talismans come with a very high price. Terry Brooks does an excellent job of showing that payment isn't always a physical sacrifice, sometimes it's emotional as well. Penderrin's experiences as he obtains the Tanequil were some of my favorite of the book.
Meanwhile, Grainne finds out the same thing in a slightly different way. Not all punishment is physical, and she begins to lose herself to the magic of the Forbidding. Enemies and allies in unexpected places really brought this realm to life. It truly is another world within Shannara, and I can see why the elves first sealed it away. I can't wait to find out if she will be the same person or something completely different by the end of the series.